Fireworks will fill Fourth of July skies in Bonita Springs
A fireworks and laser show will fill the Fourth of July skies over Bonita Springs after City Council voted to have “real fireworks” this year.
City staff is working on the specifics, but Councilor Jesse Purdon wants the annual show back in Riverside Park in the downtown area. He submitted the idea to have a fireworks show to universal councilor praise.
“We need to keep moving forward and get back to the way it was before, and the first step to that would be for us to approve, conceptually, the idea of going back to live fireworks,” Purdon said.
Councilor Mike Gibson made a motion to have “real fireworks” for Independence Day. It passed unanimously.
City staff is working on the logistics of the show and will return to council with a final plan. It will include a final location and any COVID-19 guidelines.
Bonita Springs has historically hosted its fireworks and laser light show at Riverside Park, but the COVID-19 pandemic halted the tradition last year. Most fireworks shows were cancelled, but Bonita Springs got creative with the help of the Bonita Springs Poker Room.
The event turned into a drive-in fireworks display as up to 700 cars parked in the massive lot at the former greyhound racing track. The show proved to be a massive success. But councilors wanted to get back to the downtown location.
“We are going to put on a show — the people deserve it,” he said.
City staff are working on the accompanying “Star Spangled Bonita” celebration. In the past, it was a free event with a children’s amusement area, food, drinks and an ice cream eating contest. The city hasn’t released anything specific other than the event is scheduled at Riverside Park on Independence Day.
A morning Fourth of July parade is in jeopardy. Traditionally funded and operated by the local chapter of the International Association of Fire Fighters, the firefighters' union declined to host the event based on COVID-19 safety concerns, said Nicole Hornberger, spokesperson of the Bonita Springs Fire Control and Rescue District
The fire district shares similar safety concerns and will not likely host the parade, though it is open to suggestions.
City councilors said they want a Fourth of July parade, and city officials are looking into options to host its own parade.
Special events, Parks and Recreation Center keep COVID-19 precautions
While City Council is pushing a return to pre-COVID normalcy, city regulations continue to push safety precautions.
The Recreation Center’s guidelines include hourly disinfecting of high-touch areas, and patrons are required to use a provided disinfectant spray bottle to clean fitness machine before and after use. Staff must wear masks while patrons are encouraged, but not required, to cover their faces.
Participants of classes, such as yoga, must maintain social distance and cannot physically contact other patrons.
Any group that wants to host an event on city property, such as Riverside Park, must submit a COVID safety plan. It usually includes hand sanitation stations and encouraging social distancing. City staff are required to wear masks.
Upcoming events include a Bonita Springs Concert Band concert from 6:30 to 9 p.m. May 9 at Riverside Park, a Memorial Day event on May 31 and Star Spangled Bonita.